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Generation A Hardcover – Sep 1 2009

3.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Sep 1 2009
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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Canada; 1st Edition edition (Sept. 1 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307357724
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307357724
  • Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 2.8 x 21.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #372,051 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Quill & Quire

Generation A, Douglas Coupland’s 11th novel, is a great bookend to Generation X, the novel that launched his career. The term “Generation A” was in fact coined by Kurt Vonnegut, but Coupland embraces it and makes it his own. The narrative is written from alternating first-person points of view, a tactic that harkens back to Generation X. The story takes place at a time in the near future when honeybees have become extinct. Five people (referred to in the novel as the “Wonka children”) are mysteriously stung. At the heart of the mystery is the controversial drug Solon, which allows its users to suppress anxiety by living exclusively in the present. Like detective fiction, the book uncovers the connections between the Wonka children and this dangerous drug, but it also plays with narrative conventions by illustrating the ways that people tell stories in our increasingly digital, ultra-high-speed world. If Generation X gave us “tales for an accelerated culture,” then Generation A is its natural extension, offering tales for the information overloaded. The bite-sized chapters and witty tone will appeal to those with perpetual attention defi cits, and bits of pop culture sprinkled liberally throughout will attract readers highly attuned to the current zeitgeist. Coupland clearly understands the minds of the current generation – young people who have never known a time without the Internet – and plays on their desire to jump continually from one subject to the next. To what end does this cultural ADD affect our lives and the ways we communicate with others? How can we silence the sounds of data that are constantly streaming into our heads? Are deeper human connections becoming more possible thanks to the Internet, or does the lack of face-time increase our alienation? Coupland explores these questions without resorting to obvious, cynical answers. He even manages to offer a hopeful ending, despite the odds.


‘With this exceptional sequel to Generation X, Douglas Coupland may be one of the smartest, wittiest writers around… He is a terrifically good writer…Generation A is set in the near future… Bees have become extinct, but then five people are stung…It is the attempt to get to the bottom of this mystery that brings the five together on an Alaskan island [actually BC island!] where they are made to tell stories to one another. Coupland weaves common elements across these tales and into the main narrative: large themes… comic themes… existential themes… There is a compelling plot… Coupland scatters his smartly satirical observations throughout…This is a clever, brilliant book — and it’s loads better than Generation X…funny and profound.’
Esquire UK

‘Eighteen years on from Generation X, Coupland still satirises pop culture better than anyone. This globe-spanning tale, set in the near future, is masterfully told and often hilarious.’

I know I’m not alone in thinking that Douglas Coupland is one of our finest chroniclers of modern life…. He’s funny, though, and maybe that’ s his ‘problem.’ Memo to the Custodians of CanLit: Big Ideas can be delivered with humour and wit.”
National Post

"Douglas Coupland is the greatest Canadian ironist of his time. . . . A far-fetched and enjoyable romp. . . . If he lives long enough, he could go through the alphabet of generations and entertain us thoroughly in the process. . . . A world without bees is hard to imagine. It's almost as hard to imagin[e] a Canada without Coupland."
The Globe and Mail

"As you're revelling in Coupland's wit and political acumen, a knockout section offering a trenchant commentary on storytelling suddenly hits you: how the best tales work, what inspires us and how stories can change the world. Don't miss it."

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A messy, vulgar, juvenile mish-mash of a novel; equal parts frustrating, shallow, predictable, and yet somewhat entertaining in its bizarre mini-stories and its unashamedness at showing (whether it meant to or not) the self-absorbed nature of our times. Combine a teenager's blog rants with something bordering on a dystopic future in a world without bees, and you've got this book. Maddeningly juvenile in the first half, the reader is "treated" to some of the most self-important, irritating characters I've yet come across in literature. Pop culture references abound from Instagram and Facebook to Courtney Cox...yawn. What is actually interesting and somewhat good about the novel is its commentary on our time, jumping from ignorant religion-bashing to sudden critiques of scientism and capitalism run amok. The random short stories near the end of the novel are so bizarre that they end up pretty entertaining, especially in the way the author skillfully weaves them in and out of each other, forming a web of similar themes that surround a strange hodgepodge of all sorts of odd content.
When I read this work, I began absolutely hating it, and by the end, grew to at least somewhat appreciate what it may have been trying to say in the end. Perhaps, it's just not my thing. An oddity to say the least.
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Format: Hardcover
I always await the publication of a new Douglas Coupland novel with something approaching the anticipation of Christmas morning. I need it now now now and I can't wait to open it and see what's inside.

Thankfully, Generation A by Douglas Coupland is the greatest of gifts and one of the best books I have read in a long time. It may even top my current Coupland favourite, JPod.

Generation A is set in a world that is incredibly familiar to our own. But clearly quite a few things have changed. There are drugs we can take to slow down our lives. Things like apples are incredibly hard to come by. And bees are extinct.

That is, until five people, in different corners of the world get stung by five separate bees. The Wonka Children, so they call themselves, struggle to live in a world after they have become celebrity/freaks where, because of a bee sting, they become famous.

If it sounds bizarre, that's because it is. And delightfully so.

The novel is told from the five points of view from the five sting victims. Don't worry, the chapters are told in delightfully short bursts (no chapter over ten pages here, folks) to fit into our high tech life-style. When you're on the run, your reading time is quick.

Coupland manages to cram some incredible things into those short chapters. After reading Generation A, I've been exposed to nakedness, religion, voyerism, different religious beliefs, call centres, references to the Simpsons (Mmmmm....honey), parody's of American culture, the point and purpose life, whether it is better to believe in a higher power versus not, the ideas and fundamentals of what makes people real.

I could go on.

It is a delightful mental marathon that makes me want to keep up.
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Format: Hardcover
With a diatribe against corn and an Earth sandwich within the first nine pages of this novel, I knew Coupland's latest would be worth buying. I live in the States, but decided to order from as *Generation A* came out in Canada a month and a half earlier. I have no regrets, this book is awesome!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Coupland's work for a long time, but I really didn't enjoy this book at all. The book is full of the same character types, the same flippant pop-culture references, and the same technology-is-connecting-us-while-simultaneously-isolating-us themes we've seen many times before. The pace of the plot in this book is mind-numbingly slow as it's told from the perspective of its five protagonists in parallel. This feels more like what a computer would spit out if you trained it to create a Douglas Coupland novel by analyzing his other novels than it does an actual original work.
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